Nanosecond Pulsed Breakdown for Point-Plane Geometries at Moderate Voltage
Gaseous breakdown in the sub-nanosecond regime is of interest for fast pulsed-power switching, short-pulse electromagnetics, ultra-wideband radar, and for plasma limiters1 to protect electronic devices from high-power microwaves. Previous work on sub-nanosecond breakdown2,3,4,5 concentrated on high-pressure gases or liquids, with applied voltages in excess of 100 kV for quasi-homogeneous electric fields. For practical applications and high-pressure gases as switching media, the required high voltages, along with the high-pressure setup, are technologically demanding. In this paper, we investigate breakdown in point-plane geometry, where the field enhancement is sufficient to provide breakdown for applied voltages of around 10 kV for gap distances between 0.5 to 4 mm. The setup uses transmission lines and fast sensors, which allow a simultaneous measurement of voltage and current across the gap and characterizations of current amplification time constants as a function of the applied instantaneous voltage.
KeywordsMicrowave Argon Radar Explosive
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